HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With the close of the 2020-21 campaign, the Alabama A&M Sports Information Office produced a Season in Review for each of the program’s 14 sports that competed during the year.
That series began with the fall season before progressing to the winter and spring campaigns. Each week reviews were released on Mondays and Wednesdays until concluding with the final spring sport on Wednesday, July 28.
Today we take a look back at the entire 2020-21 season for Bulldog Athletics.
2020-21 Bulldog Athletics: Accomplishments By The Numbers
Championships: 6 – Football – HBCU National Championship, SWAC East Division, SWAC Championship, Women’s Indoor Track & Field: SWAC Pole Vault Champion – Danice Loney, Women’s Outdoor Track & Field: SWAC Pole Vault Champion – Danice Loney, Men’s Tennis: SWAC Tournament
Final National Rankings: Football (No. 19/22)
NCAA: Men’s Tennis (First Round), Women’s Outdoor Track & Field (Akia Slaughter, 100-meters, 200-meters)
All-Americans: 17 – Football – 13, Women’s Basketball – 3, Men’s Basketball – 1,
All-Region/District Selections: 3 – Football – 1, Women’s Basketball – 1, Men’s Tennis – 1
All-Conference Selections: 38 – Football – 11, Women’s Soccer – 3, Women’s Basketball – 2, Men’s Basketball – 2, Women’s Indoor Track & Field – 7, Women’s Tennis – 2, Women’s Outdoor Track & Field – 11
Conference Weekly Honors: 35 – Baseball – 1, Football – 4, Women’s Soccer – 4, Women’s Basketball – 5, Men’s Basketball – 4, Women’s Indoor Track & Field – 3, Men’s Track & Field – 2, Men’s Outdoor Track & Field – 2, Women’s Outdoor Track & Field – 5, Softball – 5
Major Awards and Honors
Football: 12 – Black College Hall of Fame National Player of the Year: Aqeel Glass, BOXTOROW National Player of the Year: Aqeel Glass, SWAC Player of the Year: Aqeel Glass, Walter Payton Award Finalist (FCS Heisman): Aqeel Glass, Eddie Robinson Award Finalist (Top FCS Coach): Connell Maynor, CoSIDA Second-Team .Academic All-America: Marcus Cushine (DL), CoSIDA Academic All-District: Marcus Cushine (DL), SWAC Championship Offensive MVP: Aqeel Glass, SWAC Championship Defensive MVP: Marcus Cushine, STATS Perform FCS National Player of the Week: Aqeel Glass, BOXTOROW National Player of the Week: Aqeel Glass, SWAC Preseason Player of the Year: Aqeel Glass
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Jalen Johnson earned first All-American honors of his career, picking up Second-Team honors from BOXTOROW, making him one of the 17 best players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Both he and Garrett Hicks were also named All-SWAC Second-Team.
Women’s Basketball: 5 – BCSN National Player of the Year: Dariauna Lewis, CoSIDA Third-Team Academic All-America, CoSIDA Academic All-District, BOXTOROW National Player of the Week (Feb. 9): Dariauna Lewis, Preseason Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Watch List: Dariauna Lewis
Women’s Indoor Track & Field: 1 – SWAC Pole Vault Champion (Danice Loney)
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field: 1 – SWAC Pole Vault Champion (Danice Loney)
Men’s Tennis: 3 – SWAC Coach of the Year – Willis Mbandi, CoSIDA Academic All-District – Fermin Ruiz Crespo, SWAC Tournament MVP – Natiphat Mulada
Softball: 1 – SWAC Freshman of the Year – Esperanza Coe
FOOTBALL: Claimed first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) National Championship I Delivered first undefeated season in 53 years with 5-0 overall record. First since 1966 team went perfect 8-0 I Won first SWAC Championship since 2006 with 40-33 win over No. 25 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5/1) I Knocked off rival Alabama State (4/17) 38-14 in Magic City Classic I Made program history with quarterback Aqeel Glass earning first BOXTOROW National Player of the Year honor and first SWAC Overall Player of the Year I Marcus Cushine became first player at the Division I level to earn CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition and fourth football player overall. Selection made Alabama A&M history as it was the first time multiple Bulldogs had been so honored, the other being women’s basketball’s Dariauna Lewis.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Notched four shutouts, including program record three straight from March 19-28. Was most shutouts in a season since the 2007 team produced seven – that in a full season as opposed to one of half that length. I Surrendered only seven goals in eight games and no more than two in a game. Two of the latter came in 2-1 overtime losses to Grambling (3/5), who finished with the nation’s second leading scorer, and on the road against eventual SWAC Champion Alabama State (4/2). I Delivered 377 scoreless minute streak beginning with the final 42:56 at Jackson State (3/12) and going through first 64:15 of 2-1 decision at ASU 21 days later. I Makayla Rushing earned All-SWAC First-Team honors and was joined by Jodi Medina and Khadijah Shakirof on the Second-Team. Those three total selections were as many as the team had had combined in the previous five years and equaled the totals from the 2007, 2010 and 2013 teams. In addition to the most honorees in eight seasons, it also equaled the most since the 2006 team produced seven selections. I Rushing’s First-Team selection was the first for the program since Ana Huertas in 2013 while Medina became just the second keeper named to an All-Conference team and first since Priscilla Mensah in 2006.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Defeated No. 11 (Mid-Major) Troy 80-69 (11/28) in season opener before 20-day layoff due to COVID-19 protocols. I Won five straight from January 9 through February 8 with 16-day interruption in the middle of that stretch. I Defeated Mississippi Valley State (1/9) 65-41, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1/11) 57-47, Texas Southern (2/1) 73-50 and MVSU (2/6) 81-43 and UAPB (2/8) 76-69 during that stretch. I Made it eight wins in 10 games three consecutive wins against Southern (2/24) 78-76, Prairie View A&M (2/27) 74-51 and TSU (3/1) 64-36.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Won first four games as part of 6-2 start. Included last second 78-76 win at Samford (11/29) in season opener and 93-90 double-overtime victory over strong South Alabama (12/19) squad in home opener. I Finished fourth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (.283) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (.393). Led the SWAC in both categories as well as fewest turnovers (229), finishing 35th nationally in the latter. I Jalen Johnson led the way with averages of 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.8 assists while shooting .562 from the field. I Johnson led the SWAC in field goal percentage and placed 31st in the nation and was second in offensive rebounds per game (3.27) in the league. Was 28th nationally in the latter and third in the SWAC in both points and rebounds per game. I Garrett Hicks averaged 13.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals and Jevon Tatum delivered a strong freshman campaign with marks of 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals in 14 games, seven of those starts. I Johnson earned first All-American honors of his career, picking up Second-Team honors from BOXTOROW, making him one of the 17 best players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Both he and Hicks were also named All-SWAC Second-Team. I In terms of weekly SWAC honors, Johnson collected three on December 2, December 22 and February 26 while Hicks earned his on January 26.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Danice Loney won second straight SWAC Pole Vault Championship, placing 1-of-6 with a season-high mark of 3.61-meters. I That championship would be one of three first place finishes in the pole vault during the season for Loney, including 1-of-12 (3.50m) and 1-of-17 (3.50m) at the KMS Invitational (1/24) and KMS Open (1/31), respectively. I Sabria Wooten delivered an impressive performance at SWAC Championships, earning three All-SWAC honors. I Finished 2-of-14 in 3,000-meters (10:53.47), 3-of-8 in 5,000-meters (19:27.66) and 3-of-5 in Distance Medley Relay (13:16.30). Just missed a fourth with a 4-of-8 finish in the mile (5:28.07). I Diamond Griffin, Aneisha Ingram and Fabiona Jackson-Jenkins also earned All-SWAC recognition in the DMR.
MEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Christian Bryant earned SWAC Field Athlete of the Week and Myles McCoy was named SWAC Track Athlete of the Week on January 28. McCoy earned his following a season-opening performance at the KMS Invitational (1/24) in which he placed 9-of-26 in the 60-meter Hurdles (8.55), 21-of-41 in the 400-meters (53:14) and 6-of-10 as part of the 4×400 relay (3:30.39). Bryant, meanwhile, delivered a pair of impressive outings as he went 5-of-18 in the weight throw (15.07m) and 15-of-30 in the shot put (11.37m).
BOWLING: Won pair of qualifying matches on Day 1 at SWAC Championships before falling 4-1 to Alabama State and 4-2 to TSU in Day 2 Double Elimination Round. I Montaya Walton led the Bulldogs with 12th place finish in SWAC East Regionals. Posted average pinfall of 177.4 in 10 games with highs of 200, 221 and 222 pins. I Nariya Jackson was 19th (174.4 pf) with games of 200 and 215 and Daphne Price finished in the Top-25 at the East Regionals with an average pinfall of 152.44.
MEN’S GOLF: Hosted Alabama A&M Golf Classic (3/23) at Hampton Cove Golf Course. Field included eventual champion and Big East member DePaul.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: Advanced to SWAC Tournament Semifinals with 4-2 victory over Alcorn State before falling to defending champion Alabama State. I Won four straight matches over Mississippi Valley State (2/27), Grambling (2/28) and Southern (3/6) and Alcorn State (3/12). First three were by 4-0 scores with the latter being a marathon 4-3 win. I Jasmine Boyd and Anita Bozhko played the entire season at No. 1 doubles, going 5-5, to earn All-SWAC honors. Boyd would add All-Tournament recognition following the SWAC Championships. I Bozhko went 4-4 in singles, going 4-1 at No. 1 with the other three matches coming at the No. 2 spot.
MEN’S TENNIS: Earned first SWAC Tournament Championship in program history with back-to-back thrilling 4-3 victories over Alcorn State (4/18) and multi-time defending champion Alabama State (4/19). I Title resulted in first trip to NCAA Division I Tournament in program history. They would fall 5-0 at a No. 3 Tennessee squad that would reach the national semifinals. I Willis Mbandi named SWAC Coach of the Year with Natiphat Mulada earning SWAC Tournament MVP and SWAC All-Tournament, the latter along with Gjorgji Popovski, Divesh Gahlot and Panji Setiawan. I Fermin Ruiz Crespo became first CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in program history, doing so in the highly competitive At-Large category with features multiple sports. I Rodrigo Arana Rios, Natiphat Mulada, Panji Setiawan, Fermin Ruiz Crespo and German Ruiz Crespo were named ITA Scholar-Athletes.
MEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Devin Gronewold and Brandon McLaren swept the SWAC weekly awards on March 30 following impressive performances at the Montevallo Falcon Classic. Gronewold won the high jump (1-of-4, 1.88m) and placed 9-of-17 in the long jump to earn Field Athlete of the Week while McLaren was 1-of-9 in the decathlon for Track Athlete of the Week. The latter won the 110-meter hurdles (15.70) and discus (41.03) and was second in the 100-meters (11.39) and javelin (55.01m) while tying for second in the high jump (1.77m).
WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Danice Loney notched second straight SWAC pole vault championship as part of 11 All-SWAC honors by the Bulldogs. I Akia Slaughter earned three of those selections, placing second in 100-meters and third in both the 200-meters and 4×100 relay. Terion Davis, Fabiona Jackson-Jenkins, Danielle Chambers and Diamond Griffin finished second in the 4×400. I Slaughter earned just the second women’s outdoor berth in the NCAA Division I East Preliminaries since at least 2010, qualifying in the 100- and 200-meters. I A&M notched five SWAC weekly honors, with Slaughter earning four on the track side and Loney one in field.
SOFTBALL: Esperanza Coe became first Alabama A&M softball player on record, and certainly in the Division I era, to be named to All-Conference twice in the same year. She would do so with First-Team selections as both a pitcher and designated player. I For just the second time in program history, and the first in 15 years, Coe delivered Freshman of the Year honors in the SWAC. On the year she went 9-9 with a 3.88 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 121 innings while hitting .314 with five homeruns and 17 RBIs.
BASEBALL: Delivered program record tying seven game win streak from April 16-23, sweeping a four game set from Mississippi Valley State and three games from Alcorn State. That streak equaled the 2010 team for the longest since moving to Division I, a mark that was also the longest since the 1996 club won eight in a row.
Schedule of Season in Review Releases
Football (June 14)
Women’s Soccer (June 16)
Women’s Basketball (June 21)
Men’s Basketball (June 23)
Women’s Indoor Track & Field (June 28)
Men’s Indoor Track & Field (June 30)
Bowling (July 5)
Men’s Golf (July 7)
Women’s Tennis (July 12)
Men’s Tennis (July 14)
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field (July 19)
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field (July 21)
Softball (July 26)
Baseball (July 28)
Athletics (August 2)